For those outside the scene, EDM events can seem more than a little intimidating, and with reason. The music is loud and without pause, the costumes are over-the-top, and there’s a whole language of slang terms that must be learned (what’s kandi? Is “PLUR” a noun or verb? And what exactly is a “drop”?). Some of these events are filled with dedicated raver types, but Ookay’s recent Wow Cool Tour stop at New York City’s Irving Plaza with Fox Stevenson proved to be full of typical college-aged co-eds.
When the night’s local opening act began, most of the crowd stayed either pressed to the barricade or lingering along the sides, though every so often a small group would break out their dance moves. As the music got weirder so did the dance moves, meanwhile those choosing to remain on the sidelines pulled out their phones to film clips of the action for their Snapchat, just like they would at any other party.
Coming all the way from Leeds, U.K., Fox Stevenson was quick to declare New York City his “favorite city in America.” The Irving Plaza show was his last on the Wow Cool Tour and from the beginning of his set, it was evident that he was ready to go out with a bang. He shared new music from his new EP For Fox’s Sake, asking the crowd if they were “ready to go hard as fuck”- a suggestion to not just let loose but to take out their frustrations and go all-out.
There is no hesitation allowed at an EDM show- no moments of holding back and certainly no feeling “too cool” to have fun, and Fox Stevenson was sure to remind the crowd that “No one’s too cool for ‘Party Rock'” as he played LMFAO’s biggest hit. In addition to original music- like his track “Miss You” and a bass-filled version of his Ookay collaboration “Lighthouse”- Fox Stevenson continued to share covers and mashups that felt effortless yet different enough to be intriguing, putting his take on everything from DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” to Sum 41’s “Fat Lip”, which saw a short-lived moshpit form in the crowd. While ultimately it was about the music itself, Fox Stevenson made it a point to make himself available to fans, inviting everyone in attendance to hang out at his merch stand after his set.
Just before Ookay took the stage, one fan took it upon himself to declare, “Now it’s time to get fucking weird!” Weird indeed it was, but his brand of weird was a welcoming one. Wearing a brightly colored patterned shirt that matched the designs flashing on the screen behind him and performing with a white keytar, the 25-year-old Chula Vista, California native was the life of a party that everyone was invited to. Though the set did feature some slower tracks (like “Back Again”), most of Ookay’s performance was incredibly upbeat, with the energy driven by the man himself in songs like “Lighthouse” and the hit single “Thief.”
While most of the action took place on the floor, even those on the balcony clearly had a good time. As Ookay played his remix of Marshmello and Khalid’s summer smash hit “Silence” , one fan situated up top leaned over the edge to drop a small handful of confetti over the crowd, an act she’d repeat twice more during the night. The power of an enthusiastic crowd was not lost on Ookay, who was sure to mention that “It means a lot that you came out” midway through his set, before proceeding to play older material for the “Ookay OG trapheads” in attendance. But he also kept it current with his take on what might be the most-covered song in EDM this year, Migos‘s “Hannah Montana”, before spinning his Attila collaboration, “Moshpit”, and his remix of Galantis’ “Runaway (U&I).”
Fox Stevenson soon returned to the stage for a B2B set with Ookay, and as he instructed the crowd to “put your hands up”, one young woman took that as her cue to sit on her friend’s shoulders to get a better view. Three other women soon followed suit, holding hands and reaching to link arms with one another, enjoying an evening in the company of their best friends. As the DJs on stage sprayed water into the crowd, they giggled among themselves like schoolgirls gossiping on the playground, as if sharing an inside joke.
The love for the city that never sleeps was evident, as Ookay repeatedly shouted out New York for providing such a warm welcome, asking if showgoers were “ready to feel the love.” He and Fox Stevenson posed for a “family photo” with the crowd, who all seemed to be smiling ear to ear, but no one was ready for the show to end. In fact, not once but twice did Ookay share “one more song” before finally calling it a night. To take from a sentiment the DJ shared towards the end of the evening, it was indeed a good day to be Ookay.
Ookay has a handful of North American and overseas tour dates left in 2018, including festivals and headlining performances; see a full list of upcoming shows on his website. Fox Stevenson does not have any tour dates listed, but fans can keep an eye on his Facebook page for any and all updates.